Israel Police are investigating serious allegations of a huge diamond theft at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) which could lead to the bankruptcy of up to a dozen diamond companies at the bourse. The suspicions center on veteran diamond dealer Hanan Abramovich who is suspected of stealing the diamonds and was arrested on Tuesday evening. Details of the investigation indicate that diamonds valued at around $60 million are involved, the Globes web site reported.
Media reports in the Israeli press do not mention the names of companies that have been allegedly effected by Abramovich's actions.
A notice has been posted in the halls of the IDE asking diamantaires who may have been affected by Abramovich's actions to come forward. The notice said that Abramovich is not allowed to enter the trading hall of the exchange for two weeks and until management has held a meeting about how to proceed. Abramovich's lawyer, Adi Carmeli, was cited as saying that his client acted in accordance with the usual business procedures and denies any wrongdoing or criminal activity.
Meanwhile, Natalie Abramovich, who owns 5% of her husband's firm, Hanan Abramovich Diamonds, is being sued for 27.5 million shekels ($7 million) by LDZ Diamonds for allegedly ordering goods despite knowing that her husband's company was in financial difficulties and that there was no cover for the checks that she gave. LDZ Diamonds laid a charge against her and the company a month ago before IDE's Arbitration panel in line with bourse rules.
A statement issued by the Diamond Exchange management said that the investigation had been launched after complaints were received by several companies claiming they were owed tens of millions of dollars for goods sold to Abramovich's company. IDE Managing Director Eli Avidar said, "The Diamond Exchange's management will show zero tolerance to those who hurt other members of the exchange. Israel's diamond sector has been going through difficult times in recent years and to our regret we are being exposed to unfortunate instances like these where the situation is being exploited. The Diamond Exchange management will work resolutely to clarify the case including working with the enforcement authorities."